Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Giant update dump of DOOM

Okay, let's try to go for a real update this time.

First off, in case you thought I was kidding about Dutch licorice, the internet has once again proven me right.  I especially like the Japanese guy's reaction.

Anyway, dang, so much to write about.  This is going to be kind of brief because I have a lot of catch up on, and I've already visited basically everywhere in this post a bunch of times, so you can go back to previous posts to find pictures.

Let's see...

So last week on Wednesday I went with Kim and Louki to Ise, because they wanted to see Ise and I am always okay with visiting Ise.  It was pretty exciting, but since it was my fourth time at Ise I will not really write much here.
...also, Kim and Louki got a bunch of my friends from the dorm to make a little book for me with pictures (INCLUDING A PICTURE HALI DREW OF ALL OF US AS OUR RESPECTIVE PONIES IT IS NOW CANON) and little letters and I might have cried a little but you can't prove it and Kim definitely doesn't have photographic evidence shhhhh.  It was basically one of the nicest things anyone has ever done from me and oh my gosh yes.  I will treasure it forever.

On Thursday morning I helped out at the tsukinamisai at Susanoo Shrine, at which there was much excitement that I shall not write about but it involved someone nearly passing out, and then afterwards I got FREE LUNCH and also got to listen to a long and complicated discussion about the shrine's finances and their relationship with a couple of important neighborhood organizations.  Basically, it was good stuff all around.
Thursday evening I went to pick up my dad from the airport, and managed to get him food without killing him* and got him to his hotel.

On Friday morning I met up with my dad, showed him around some sites near my dorm, like Koushouji and Gosha Shrine and the super awesome bakery in the Valor.  I also filled out some paperwork so that he could come up into my room and look around, and I am sure he will tell you how COMPLETELY SPOTLESS and NOT DISORGANIZED my room is.  Right, Dad?  Anyway, he also got to meet Louki and Grace, which was cool.
...aaaaand then I had to run away to class.
But after class we met up with Itou-san, who came by in her car to pick us up!  We were going to go to Nagoya Castle, but the traffic was really bad, so we wound up getting there right before they closed.  We decided to save the castle for another day, and we walked around Meijo Park and the castle moat instead.  I would just like to note that the koi in the castle moat are INCREDIBLY CREEPY and I am pretty sure I am going to have nightmares about their creepy mouths.
ANYWAY, after that we drove past the City Archives, which are housed in this building that looks like it belongs on the Harvard campus. Not even kidding.
And then we went to Kawahara Shrine to see adorable baby turtles and definitely not to show my dad the shrine or anything.
And then we went to dinner at a really good Chinese restaurant, and Itou-san made endless fun of my dad for eating less than me.  And then Itou-san totally stole the check and SOMEDAY I WILL WIN AND PAY FOR A MEAL.  I am planning.  PLANNING, I SAY.
Anyway, it was all around a very nice day!

Saturday, Dad and I went to Inuyama to see the castle and the other stuff in Inuyama.  The castle was much warmer than it was when I went with Nick, but the stairs were still as terrifying.  We also went to this cool little puppet museum that is just outside of the castle grounds.  And then I introduced my dad to soft cream (it's like the much better version of American soft serve), which may have been a mistake because he might be mildly addicted to it now oops.  Anyway, after that we went to the temples on the mountain, and met this Buddhist priest who showed us around a tiny recreation of the Shikoku pilgrimage.  The Shikoku pilgrimage is a route of 88 temples located around the entire island of Shikoku, which takes approximately a month to complete on foot.  There are hundreds of recreations of the pilgrimage, usually which employ sand or dirt from each site and some sort of sacred object from each site.  This particular recreation had little pots of sand below the floor and a scroll from each temple.  Anyway, I got a pretty long explanation from the priest, because he was pretty excited that I understood what he was talking about.  So that was cool.
After that we were going to go over and check out the Monkey Park, except it turned out to be an amusement park?  A really expensive amusement park?  I dunno.  So instead we headed back to Nagoya, bummed around Osu Kannon and bought AMAZING MEAT BUNS, and then went over to Kanayama to grab curry for dinner.
So that was Saturday!

Sunday, Dad came to my dorm to drop off his bags for the day, and then we went to Nagoya Castle and actually managed to get inside this time.  We also visited the Tokugawa Art Museum later that day, which had a big collection of popular books from the 18th century, including, weirdly enough, a bunch of guides to the red light district.  I don't even know.  There was also a new exhibit on the possessions of the merchant class, which was pretty cool, although I don't know why I would want a tea bowl that cost that much if I were a merchant.
Then we went to the Tokugawa Gardens, which were significantly greener than they were last time I visited, but also had fewer flowers, weirdly enough.
We grabbed dinner at Pastel, aka that weird restaurant that only sells cake and pasta, and then I took my dad to Nagoya Station and said bye.
Upon returning to the dormitory, I discovered that Abbie had spent the entire semester saving one yen coins so she could go to the Lawson (convenience store) and buy a teriyaki burger using only one yen coins (one hundred five of them, to be exact).  It was potentially the most epic and trollish thing to ever occur in a convenience store.  The cashier at our register managed to get through the entire thing with a perfectly straight face, although the other cashier looked like he was going to die from holding in his laughter.  He was turning bright red, not even kidding.
ALSO, Ashley bought cell phone charms for all the pony girls and THEY ARE THE COLORS OF OUR PONIES AND WHY IS THIS SO GREAT.  Anyway, I have a tiny bell with a ribbon hanging from my cell phone now, and it is in Twilight Sparkle's colors and it is great.

Monday morning I woke up at an ungodly early hour to say goodbye to Meredith and Hali and Ashley, all of whom were leaving for the airport.  Then I saw an annullar eclipse, or, really, I tried to take pictures of it, failed, and then spotted the people across the street who actually had sun filters, and asked them politely if I could share.  Thank you, nice people across the street!  Anyway, it was amazing cool and I will be incredibly disappointed if I don't develop super powers.  And then after that I collapsed into bed and slept for a while, because I was running on four hours of sleep.

Tuesday was Kim and Louki's last day in the dorm, and due to a long and complicated blood pact, Kim had to watch an episode of Sherlock with me, so we (Abbie and Kim and Louki and I) did that.  And apparently I spent the entire episode grinning like an idiot, but, HEY, IT'S SHERLOCK AND YOU CAN'T STOP ME.
Then we went to Mountain, which is a sort of infamous restaurant by the dorm.  It is infamous because A. it has the largest serving sizes you have ever seen and B. it has the weirdest pasta you have ever seen, like green tea and red bean.  Yeah.  But I got a parfait so all was well!  Although my chocolate parfait had a prune in it, which was...odd.
And then we had a Roommate Dinner, which turned out to be more like a Roommate Plus a Whole Other Chunk of the Dorm Dinner, which was fine, because it meant that we got to hear about why not to be a politician in India and how the Netherlands doesn't have a government right now and other exciting things.

Today I woke up at an ungodly early hour to take Kim and Louki to Nagoya Station with Dheeraj and Grace, which was exciting even though all of us were sort of falling asleep.  (Okay, Grace was literally falling asleep.)  Once we saw them off, we fought through the sea of people who decided to ride the subway at rush hour (IT WAS AWFUL I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE AUGH) and somehow managed to get back to the dorm without being crushed to death.
Also, I apologize if this post is more incoherent than usual 'cause I think I'm running on roughly three or four hours of sleep.  I'm coming down with something, which means that it feels like someone's been sandpapering my throat, so I kept waking up in the middle of the night and thus got lousy sleep.  Ugh.
Anyway, yeah, that's what I've been up to, basically.  I'm gonna go collapse and drink some more tea now.  Oh, and eat more of these crazy plum cough drops, which are the greatest thing I have ever found.

*My dad is allergic to shellfish, which is...problematic, if you live in a port town like Nagoya.

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